Wednesday, December 6News That Matters

Chelsea to profit from Gundogan transfer plan after private talks

Chelsea have scheduled a second transfer meeting to sign Barcelona’s Gavi this summer as the club looks set to seal the signing of Ilkay Gundogan from Manchester City.

Gavi has emerged as one of the brightest talents in football and is a regular for the Blaugrana and the Spanish national side.

In September, he committed his future to Barcelona by agreeing to a huge new contract – including a whopping €1billion release clause.

But, La Liga refused to ratify the deal due to their ongoing financial problems and despite Barca moving ahead to register the player on professional terms, a Catalan court has ruled against the club – meaning his registration has reverted back to that of a youth-team graduate.

The legal ruling, which Barca contest and say is not a final decision, means that the release clause in Gavi’s new contract is not yet valid – and that could enable one of his numerous admirers to pinch him for nothing in the summer.

The Blues are now looking to take advantage of his contractual uncertainty. As revealed by Diario AS, they met with his agent Ivan de la Pena in Madrid few weeks ago. In addition, a second transfer meeting has now been arranged – with Gavi’s parents set to be in attendance.

There is belief from Chelsea that the player’s desire is to remain at Barca but they will look to make a charm offensive to his parents, alongside his agent again, and put forward the case that they will offer him financial security and sporting chances that his current club cannot.

A recent report in ESPN claimed the Catalans have an agreement in place to sign Inigo Martinez as a free agent, while they had been working on a deal to land Gundogan, who is also out of contract this summer.

On Friday, Sport claimed that the deal was now as good as concluded.

Both players will not cost any transfer fee but their wages are problematic, with Barca needing to make an overall reduction in their annual wage budget by €180m (£159m) before signing new players.

Unlike last year, they will not be able to pull any of their so-called ‘economic levers’ this summer due to La Liga’s financial rules. The only way they can raise funds to improve their squad is to sell first-team squad players.

Gundogan would add direct competition to the midfield which is stacked with players, including Gavi – who has played in a more advanced role ahead of the other trio of midfielders.

Pedri’s status and position at the club is not questionable, while Frenkie de Jong wants to remain at Camp Nou and Sergio Busquets is set to sign a new contract.

Franck Kessie is also at the club, and Nico Gonzalez is due to return from a loan spell at Valencia and Pablo Torre continues to develop.

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